Former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (retd), has dragged the Federal Government before ECOWAS Court in Abuja over his continued detention. He is also demanding payment of N500 million damages for alleged rights infringement.
This is even as a Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday ordered the government to produce him by February 16. Dasuki is also urging the sub-regional court to order his release forthwith.
In the suit filed by his lawyer, Robert Emukpoeruo, the former NSA is urging the court to declare among others, that his continued detention in defiance of orders for his bail granted by three courts, and after fulfilling the bail conditions, was “unlawful, arbitrary and an egregious violation” of his human rights.
The applicant also urged the ECOWAS Court to hold that it was, “a most egregious violation of the treaty obligations” signed by Nigeria under and by virtue of its being a signatory to legal instruments, to have unlawfully detained him under a “de-humanizing condition” after he had been granted bail and met the conditions for his release.
Similarly, the former NSA would want the court to declare that the alleged invasion of his privacy, home and correspondence at his Abuja and Sokoto residences on July 16 and 17, 2015 and the “forceful and unlawful seizure” of his properties, “without any lawful order or warrant” constituted a gross violation of his fundamental rights and offended the country’s treaty obligations as a signatory to the listed legal instruments.
Meanwhile, Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja yesterday ordered Dasuki be produced in court on February 16 following his absence in court without any reason.
The judge said it was mandatory for a defendant in a criminal matter to be physically present in court at every stage of the prosecution except where the presence was an excuse.
Dasuki’s counsel, Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN), had also complained that his client was abducted by security agents six weeks ago to an unknown destination. He told Justice Ademola that since the ex-NSA was whisked away, all efforts by his family and his lawyers to access him had been scuttled.
Daudu recalled that in three different High Courts where Dasuki was arraigned by the Federal Government, his client was admitted to bail, regretting that till date, the government and its agents have refused to allow Dasuki go on bail. He urged the judge to compel the Federal Government and its agents to respect the court’s decision, having joined issues with the defendant in court.
Justice Ademola said: “I am worried that the accused is not here. I do not want to set a bad precedent. Except the court gives express order for the defendant not to be in court, the accused must be brought to court from wherever he is. The accused must be here because I am not sure if what I am doing right now in the absence of the accused is not an illegality.
“Government and whoever is concerned must endeavour to do the necessary thing. The accused having been formally charged in court, must be produced in court for trial on the appointed days in compliance with the provisions of the law,” he said.
Earlier, counsel to the Federal Government, Mr. Dikpo Okpeseyi (SAN), said he applied for withdrawal of an application he had filed, seeking revocation of bail granted Dasuki on November 3 last year.
The judge consequently struck out the application and announced that the ruling would be delivered on February 16 in a pending government application, seeking secret trial of the former NSA.
The government arraigned Dasuki on charges of unlawful possession of fire-arms, breach of trust and money laundering.
Meanwhile, Dasuki’s trial has been fixed for February 16 and 17 before Justice Ademola